Animal Cruelty and Human Violence: Q&A with Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore

Today marks the end of Animal Cruelty and Human Violence Awareness week, a time to discuss the growing body of evidence demonstrating the strong connection between animal abuse and other forms of family and community violence.

Law enforcement agencies, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police have expressed concern about the relationship between animal cruelty, domestic violence, child and elder abuse, usually referred to as “The Link”.  Studies have confirmed a relationship between animal abuse and other violent crimes.

Download our fact sheet on animal cruelty and human violence.

Dr. Smith X-Ray

Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore

We asked Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, vice president of animal welfare at the ARL, for her perspective on the link between animal cruelty and human violence.  Here’s what she had to say:

ARL Blog: How would you define “animal abuse?”

Dr. Smith-Blackmore: Animal abuse can include physical abuse (non-accidental injury), emotional abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and staged animal fights.

Physical abuse is characterized by the deliberate inflicting of injuries or causing pain, including inappropriate methods of training. Emotional abuse may include repeated or sustained ‘mental violence’(intimidation through loud yelling or threatening behaviors) or deliberate isolation through the  withholding social interactions.

Neglect is the failure to provide adequate levels of food, water, shelter, and veterinary care to animals. Sexual abuse includes any sexual conduct with animals, which may or may not result in physical injury to the animal.

Unfortunately, examples of all of these kinds of animal abuse have been investigated by the ARL’s Law Enforcement department.  Last year alone, our Law Enforcement team led or assisted in the investigation of 576 cruelty cases.

ARL Blog:  Most people would agree that reporting animal cruelty helps the animals involved and for that reason is importance to do.  But is there an even bigger impact reporting animal cruelty has on a community?

Dr. Smith-Blackmore: Absolutely.  Animal abuse is an important social issue affecting animals, families, and communities.

Recognizing and reporting animal abuse is especially important, due to the link between animal abuse and human violence. A correlation between animal abuse, family violence and other forms of community violence has been established.

Family and animal protection professionals have recognized this connection, noting that abuse of children, elders, domestic partners and animals result in a self-perpetuating cycle of violence.

ARL Blog:  So reporting concerns about animal cruelty can really make a difference to both animals and people?

Dr. Smith-Blackmore: Yes, when animals in a home are abused or neglected, it’s a warning sign that others in the household may not be safe. In addition, children who witness animal abuse are harmed and are also at a greater risk of becoming abusers themselves.

Laws provide animals with protection from abuse; however successful prosecution depends on reporting by witnesses to law enforcement authorities.  Protecting animals and creating safe and humane communities has to be a priority for us all.

Learn more about animal cruelty and domestic violence.

For more on this topic visit arlboston.org/take-action

 

Bunnies are Not Just for Easter. They’re for Life!

Bunnies and Easter go hand-in-hand, but when deciding on giving a rabbit as an Easter gift, consider the chocolate, candy and stuffed animal toy kind first, and if you’re really serious, then think about ADOPTing a rabbit. Adding a real, live rabbit to your family should be a well thought-out decision.

04-19-14 Sunshine Bunny

SUNSHINE is currently available at the ARL’s Boston shelter.

Here’s what you should know about rabbits:

  • They should live indoors.
  • They have a lifespan of about 10 years.
  • Rabbits are sensitive and can be stressed out by small children.
  • They like to chew on cords and furniture, so your home must be bunny-proofed.
  • Rabbits should be neutered or spayed or they will mark your house.
  • They make great apartment pets.

Marianne G., Manager of our Boston shelter, has the following advice “if you are thinking about adopting a rabbit this Easter remember to ask yourself the question, ‘Was I interested in a rabbit before Spring or am I getting caught up by the holiday fever?’” She also notes that “rabbits make fun and entertaining pets.  It can be an exciting surprise to add one to your family at Easter time as long as you have considered the commitment and the care that will last long after you’ve devoured your last Cadbury Crème Egg!”

 

Limited Release “See Something, Say Something” Doggy T-Shirts Now Available

You & Your Dog Can Make a Difference!

Dog T-shirt 1April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month and yesterday marked the beginning of Animal Cruelty and Human Violence Awareness Week.

Your dog can raise awareness about animal cruelty by wearing one of the ARL’s doggy t-shirts!

Starting this weekend when you make a $25 donation at any of the ARL’s shelters in Boston, Brewster, or Dedham you’ll receive a limited release “See Something, Say Something” doggie t-shirt.

We have many sizes available!

Learn more at arlboston.org/take-action

 

Lt. Borgal on the Link Between Animal Cruelty and Community Violence [VIDEO]

As a reminder that April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month, today we’re sharing a video featuring Lt. Alan Borgal, director of the ARL’s Center for Animal Protection. Lt. Borgal emphasizes the link between cruelty to animals and family and community violence and encourages you to contact local authorities if you suspect animal cruelty or neglect. Remember YOU can give a voice to the victims of animal cruelty, if when you see something, you say something!

A very special thanks to GreatGrandPaws for producing the video for us!

You can give a voice to the victims of animal cruelty. Learn more at arlboston.org/take-action

Download our flyer on how to spot potential signs of animal cruelty.

 

7 Warning Signs of Potential Animal Cruelty

Subtle indications that may indicate an animal is at risk

During Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month this April, we want to help the public better understand the importance of reporting suspected animal cruelty to local authorities.

While most members of the public recognize that punching, kicking, burning, choking, or hitting an animal with an object are acts of animal cruelty, there are some more subtle signs to watch for that could indicate mistreatment, neglect, or abuse:

  1. Howling or barking for a sustained period of time or hearing an animal cry in pain with higher pitched, more persistent vocal sounds than usual
  2. Singed, matted, chronically or excessively dirty hair or fur
  3. Wounds, unusual scars, hair loss, frequent limping often on different legs, or signs of improper nutrition such as weight loss or prominent visible ribs
  4. Animals kept caged or tied with little room to move for long periods of time or without regular interaction with people
  5. Lack of protection from the weather or fece- or debris-strewn living areas for animals
  6. Collars, leashes, or halters so tight they visibly dig into the animal’s face or neck
  7. A large number of animals coming or going from a property

See Something, Say Something

If you know or suspect animal cruelty, report concerns to your local authorities.  Learn more about how you can give a voice to the victims of animal cruelty: arlboston.org/take-action

 

Today: Rabies & Microchip Clinic in Dedham

Microchip Your Pet!

It’s that time of year again, so please join us!

The ARL’s Dedham shelter will host their annual Rabies and Microchip Clinic on Saturday, April 5 from 10A.M.-2P.M.

Rabies vaccines are $10 each ($7 for seniors citizens)
Microchips are $15 each ($12 for senior citizens)
For everyone’s safety, all dogs must be on leash and cats in carriers.

For more information or if you have questions please call (781) 326-0729 or email dedham@arlboston.org.

kitten in pet carrier

 

Happy Tail: Bruschi is Truly a Part of the Family

Update from Bruschi (Adopted 11/25/13)

Bruschi, his new fam,. staff and volunteers on the day he was adopted.

Bruschi, his new fam, staff ,and volunteers on the day he was adopted.

Happy Mutt Monday! Start your week off with a heartwarming update about a lovable dog named Bruschi.

When Bruschi came in to the Animal Rescue League in October of 2013, we knew he was special. This lovable big boy adored human attention and would do just about anything for a hug. He quickly became a staff and volunteer favorite and received that attention he so desperately craved!

It took a little over a month for Bruschi to find a home, but when he did, boy did he score big! He was adopted on November 25, 2013 by Lauren and Tom and had a heartfelt send-off. Since his adoption they’ve kept the ARL staff up-to-date with Bruschi’s daily life and progress.

Here’s their latest note:

“Hi ARL staff!

Bruschi is doing great – He’s truly a part of our family.  He is so happy the snow is melting finally, and he loves to play catch with tennis balls! He also loves to cuddle as you see [in the pictures]! He is so gentle and is a big baby. We love him and couldn’t be more grateful that we had the chance to adopt him! We will have to bring him in soon to visit!” - Lauren, Tom & Bruschi

Bruschi 7

The family out in the snow.

bruschi 1

Bruschi is all smiles.

We currently have several very friendly Pit Bull-type dogs available for adoption at our Boston shelter. View them online or stop by during adoption hours, Tuesday – Thursdfay 1p.m.-7p.m. and Friday – Sunday 1p.m.-4p.m.).

 

Spay Waggin’ Adds Date for Dogs in Hyannis

April Spay Waggin’ Schedule is Now Available

Mickey

Due to popular demand, the Animal Rescue League’s Spay Waggin’ now has two scheduled dates in Hyannis - April 1 for cats and April 28 for dogs.

The mobile spay/neuter unit provides spay/neuter surgeries and other preventive healthcare for dog and cat parents in financial need on the South Shore and Cape Cod.

“Many people can not afford to spay/neuter their pets,” explained Cheryl T., shelter and community medicine program coordinator at the ARL.

“They love their pets and want to do what’s best for them, but need the kind of help provided by the Spay Waggin’ to keep them happy and healthy.”

Learn more about the Spay Waggin’

The April Spay Waggin’ schedule is now available online. Please call 1-877-590-SPAY(7729) or book online (cats only) and make an appointment for your pet today!

April Spay Waggin Schedule

To see the benefits of spay and neuter visit: arlboston.org/spay-neuter

 

Pets of the Week: Rio and Sid, Miss Luna and Pebbles

Pets Seeking Human Companions

All of the animals listed below are patiently waiting for loving human companions to call their own. Will you lend them a paw by sharing their information?

Rio & Sid
Rio and Sid are a bonded pair of 4-year-old neutered male ferrets looking for a home with room for two! They are very playful and entertaining to watch! When they’re not running around and playing, you’ll often find them napping together.

They’ve been at our Boston shelter for almost two months and it’s about time they found a fun family!

Read Rio & Sid’s Profile

If Rio and Sid sound like the pets for you, come meet them at our Boston shelter! Or, if you think they’d make the a great match for a friend, please spread the word.

03-28-14 Miss Luna

Miss Luna is a beautiful 6-year old kitty with a shy, but sweet disposition. She warms up to new people quickly, but would probably prefer a quiet home.

We do not know how she would do with other animals, but a slow introduction is best if bringing her home to other animals.

Her previous owner said that once she’s comfortable with you, she’s quite the snuggler.

Read Miss Luna’s profile

Miss Luna is eagerly waiting to meet you today, so come meet her at our Dedham shelter!

03-28-14 PebblesPebbles is one handsome, young bunny! This 7-month-old rabbit is friendly, curious, and likes to be petted. In his previous home Pebbles was used to spending time in and out of his cage, so he’s mostly litter box trained. He is a netherland dwarf mix and is probably going to stay on the smaller side that he is now.

Read Pebbles’ adoption profile

If Pebbles sounds like the bunny for you, visit him at the Brewster shelter!

 

Happy Tail: Harry Truman Passes Dog Training Boot Camp

Update on Harry Truman nka Jackson

photo7The 6 month mark is always an exciting time after any pet adoption. By this point a family has had the opportunity to get to know their new pet and they will have made some significant observations about their new buddy.

This is ARL alum Harry Truman, now known as Jackson to his new human companions. He was adopted in September 2013 and his family can’t praise him enough! Here’s what they had to say:

“We love him! He’s so smart, loving and absolutely perfect for us. He does well on and off leash, he passed a dog training boot camp we took him to with flying colors, he’s great with people and other dogs. We couldn’t have been luckier to have found him. We have more pictures of him in 6months than we do together after 2 years!

Jackson is doing great and loving his new home. He’s gotten very comfortable in the car, finally, and is obsessed with Kick Fetch toys, so we play often…and have to keep buying them because he chews them up. Fortunately, that’s the only thing he chews. He still has some separation anxiety when we bring him to day care once a week, but once he’s in the play room he runs around like crazy and forgets all about us.

Thanks again for helping us to take him home!”

To Jackson’s family thank you for choosing to adopt a shelter dog and for keeping us up-to-date on Jackson’s progress. We’re wishing you guys many more years of happiness!

photo3